TI-83 intro

Picture of a TI-83 You'll get a global impression by viewing the system specs of the TI-83 calculator:

(text from ticalc.org:) The TI-83 was released as the successor to the TI-82 and featured a newer, more contoured case design that has since been used on all of TI's newer calculators. The TI-83 features backwards compatibility with TI-82 programs and some newer financial functions, but by far the most notable aspect of this calculator is built-in assembly programming capability supported by TI itself. This advance saved curious programmers the trouble of "hacking" the calculator themselves to achieve this functionality, and marked the beginning of TI's embracement of assembly programming. The TI-83 has consequently become a popular programming platform, but has now been supplanted by the TI-83 Plus, an updated model.

The main problem of the TI-83 is the lack of memory. In general you can just put a few programs on it (or just one RPG) and it full. Most games try to be as small as possible, so the graphics mostly ain't as good as they can be. Just compare it to the TI-86 and you'll see the difference in games. Still they can be very useful for during school and stuff.

Z80 CPU This's the CPU (processor) of all the calc. You know it's almost the same as the one in a GameBoy! However the games aren't as advanced, because the GameBoy has also got a good VDP ("video card") which allows things like fast hardware scrolling and stuff. Just like the difference between a basic PC and one with a good 3D-accellerator. Also '83 games can't be as big 'cause of memory restrictions, so graphics are often barely used. Still TI-83 games can be quite cool, especially during boring school.


NPO capacitator Utilizing an NPO-capacitator, you can overclock your TI-83 to 24MHz, making it upto four times as fast! More upgrades are: a memory expander, increasing memory with ½MB; or an IR-link allowing you to control infrared devices (TV and stuff) and wireless linking to other calcs.

Running programs

First of all you have to get the programs on your calc. This can be done using a TI-Graph Link, a lil' cable available at some shops and online. Then download the software you want at one of the many ticalc sites (for example at my own archives (recommended ;), or at the much larger archives of ticalc.org). Finally upload the files to your calc using the Graphlink software (can be downloaded for free at TI's).

How to run the programs on your TI-83? The BASIC progs can be run by looking up the program name in the PRGM menu. Running Assembly programs is a bit more complex. There's basically three kinds of Asm programs:

These programs are stored as hexadecimal values, like CD1A44C9. These can be run by entering Send(9prgmXXX. Send( is in the CATALOG menu. Not too often used because the files are twice as big as compiled versions.
In order to run compiled asm programs, you need a little program called Zasmload. Then you run the program using the BASIC file included. (for example you have a game called XXX, then the game itself will be Zxxx, and a basic prog included will probably be xxx or xxxLoad, which you just run like any basic program).
Compiled for Shell
They're like the compiled progs, but require a shell to be run. Using a shell you can start the programs you want mostly by selecting it in a menu, much easier than the other methods.
Basically there's three different shells - AShell, SOS and ION - each with their own programs. Of these three, Ion is currently the most commonly used.

Remember assembly programs can crash your calc (just like Windows does..) If this happens your calc freezes, the screen is cleared, or it coughs up "weird stuff" like random pixels, or resets, or a strange combination of these things. Crashes are just unpredictable, and alot of games have bugs that could crash your calc (since most games are still beta, and sometimes programmers have lost interest in a project (they don't get payed) so they don't fix a bug either).

After a crash you may find your calc won't work anymore (it just froze...) To get it working again, remove all batteries and try again. In most cases it'll now work again (remember to change the contrast if your batteries are a li'l low, or you still won't see anything!) If it still doesn't, then you should remove the batteries as well as the backup battery for some time and try again. It's impossible for a game to actually destroy your calculator! Really! You should always be able to reset it. Otherwise there's something else wrong (unrelated to the game, like it got wet of you dropped it or smtn.)